Manchester United's summer of discontent fed on by Seagulls

Matt Jones 20/08/2018
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A difficult few weeks for Manchester United took a turn for the worse on Sunday when they were beaten 3-2 at Brighton in the Premier League.

Manager Jose Mourinho has cut a frustrated figure as his team have laboured through pre-season and the opening weeks of the new campaign.

A rousing 2-1 win to open the campaign at home to Leicester was completely undone by the woeful nature of their defeat at the Amex Stadium on Sunday.

Here, we take a look at a summer of discontent at Old Trafford.

WINDOW WOES

HarryMaguire

Mourinho had hoped to strengthen his squad significantly during the summer transfer window, but it ended without the arrival of the commanding defender he had wanted.

Despite being linked with the likes of Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire, Jerome Boateng, Diego Godin and Yerry Mina, United added only Fred, Diogo Dalot and Lee Grant to the mix.

Speculation persists that relations between Mourinho and the club’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward are strained.

WORLD CUP WAIT

 Lingard

The manager was less than impressed after having to start pre-season without some of his biggest names after France, England and Belgium enjoyed extended stays at the World Cup finals and severely depleted his resources.

Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku, Marouane Fellaini, Ashley Young, Jesse Lingard, Phil Jones and Marcus Rashford were all missing, although most answered Mourinho’s call to cut short their post-tournament breaks.

MARTIAL WAR?

 Anthony Martial 3

Anthony Martial found himself in the firing line after leaving the club’s US tour to attend the birth of his second child.

Mourinho made little secret of his displeasure at the Frenchman’s failure to return to the fold as quickly as he had expected, but 22-year-old Martial insisted his family would always come first.

He started against Brighton but had little impact and was, predictably, one of the players to make way in the second half.

THE PROBLEM WITH POGBA

 0720 Pogba Barcelona

Paul Pogba has been something of an enigma since his club record £89million switch from Juventus in August 2016. His form on the pitch has been patchy to say the least, and rumours of a fractious relationship with his manager have refused to go away.

Pogba did little to stem the speculation when he replied “There are things that I cannot say otherwise I will get fined” when asked if he was happy at Old Trafford following a swashbuckling display against Leicester, including opening the scoring with a brilliant penalty.

Mourinho, who has made the Frenchman his captain, has repeatedly insisted there is no issue.

PITCH BATTLE

 ManchesterUnitedBrighton (1)

If things have been tetchy off the field, they have been little more relaxed on it. United stuttered through pre-season as they lost to Liverpool and Bayern Munich, earning a 2-1 win over Real Madrid, although it was Los Blancos’ maiden match of the summer.

They started brightly and ultimately got the victory in the 2-1 victory over Leicester in their Premier League opener. However, they turned in a dreadful display to go down 3-2 at Brighton on Sunday with the scoreline flattering them somewhat as Pogba’s penalty with seconds remaining put a little more gloss on the scoreline than they deserved.

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Former Man United striker Dimitar Berbatov urges fans to forget Brighton defeat

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Dimitar Berbatov has urged Manchester United supporters not to be too down about their defeat to Brighton and insists it is too early in the season for doom mongering.

After a positive start to the 2018/19 campaign with a 2-1 home win over Leicester last week, United came crashing down with a woeful performance in a 3-2 defeat at Brighton on Sunday.

But former striker Berbatov believes there is no need for Red Devils fans to be worried despite their team’s disappointing display at the Amex Stadium.

In a video posted on his Instagram page, Berbatov said: “Obviously we’re all disappointed and I didn’t expect that result to be honest. But hey, it’s too early in the season. Don’t be worried. You have games like this.”

Goals from Glenn Murray, Shane Duffy and a Pascal Gross penalty helped Chris Hughton’s men to all three points, with Romelu Lukaku heading in to make it 2-1 before Paul Pogba’s late penalty gave United a consolation.

Jose Mourinho pointed to his side making “big mistakes” as the reason for their defeat – the second time they’ve lost away at Brighton in the space of a little over three months.

Berbatov, who played for United for four years and won two league titles with the club, does not feel the need to panic at this stage, however, insisting it’s still early in the season.

“You win some, you lose some but the good thing is there’s always the next game to make things good again. So come on.”

Next up for the Red Devils is a home meeting with Tottenham on August 27, before meeting with Sean Dyche’s Burnley on September 2.

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Man United captain Paul Pogba blasts poor attitude shown in Brighton defeat

Nick Purewal 19/08/2018
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Captain Paul Pogba has hit out at Manchester United’s blase attitude in their 3-2 Premier League defeat at Brighton.

Pogba hit a late penalty but a slipshod United fully deserved their defeat, with Glenn Murray, Shane Duffy and Pascal Gross all on target for the hosts.

France World Cup-winner Pogba even conceded he carried a complacent attitude into Sunday’s Amex Stadium clash, shouldering the blame for the Red Devils’ loss.

“We lost and the attitude that we had today was that we deserved to win,” Pogba told Sky Sports.

“I put myself first. My attitude wasn’t right enough. We’ll keep trying and keep pushing and obviously it’s a lesson for us.”

United leaked three first-half goals for only the 10th time in Premier League history, in an error-strewn and lacklustre showing.

Target man Murray drew first blood with a smart one-touch finish in his 200th appearance for Brighton, before Duffy swept home amid defensive indecision from United.

Gross then converted a penalty after being felled in the box by Eric Bailly as Brighton effectively had the game sewn up by half-time.

Romelu Lukaku nodded a header home amid Brighton’s 19-minute goal blitz, before Pogba slotted his second penalty in as many games in time added on at the death.

Brighton beat United 1-0 on the south coast back in May en route to a 15th-place Premier League finish last term, and repeated the feat of toppling Jose Mourinho’s men just three months on.

Refusing to pass the buck, Pogba stepped up to take it upon himself to state just how below-par United were on the day – especially in terms of mindset.

“The attitude that we had was not like we wanted to beat them. They had more anger than us and that showed on the pitch,” said Pogba.

“We made mistakes we shouldn’t make. The attitude has to be right and we missed that today.”

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